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Hierarchy of Leads- Overcoming Call Reluctance- Ralph Watkins
So, I recently got a call from a client who said, “Man, I’m really struggling today.  It looks like my call reluctance is rearing its ugly head….again.”  ☹   Since most Loan Officers deal with call reluctance at some level, I thought it would be good to share an idea that has coalesced into a guiding principle. I asked, “So, what is at the heart of your call reluctance?  Is it a fear of all calls or ‘just’ a fear making cold calls?”  She said, “I really hate making cold calls.” As an aside, if your call reluctance is a fear of making ANY phone calls, you may need to reconsider whether this is the profession for you.  If you fear making cold calls, which is really the fear of rejection, take heart, you’re in good company and depending on your situation, you may be fretting over nothing. “Fair enough,” I said. “I’m just curious. How many loans with contracts do you currently have in your pipeline?” “About 12,” she replied.  “Cool,” I said. “Do you remember that ninja system we have for marketing to your pipeline, which, by the way is your number one source for new business?”  “Yes,” she replied again. “Great!  Have you made those calls for this week?” I asked. “Well, no. Not yet.” “Ok, well whom should you be calling first for more business?  Is it people with files in escrow in your current pipeline who actually WANT you to call them, or people who don’t know you, aren’t working with you and want you to just leave them alone?  ‘Uh, well clearly, the people in my pipeline,” she answered. “That’s right!” I continued. “Now, after your pipeline, your next best source for business is your past client database. Are you totally current with your quarterly calls, your monthly mailer and your weekly emails to your database?”  (pause) “….uh, no.”  “Ok, so same question, whom should you call first for more business?  Is it people that you have already helped and know how awesome you and your team are, or people who have never worked with you and don’t know what you can do?”  “Well, it would be the peeps in my database,” she answered again. Ok, good.  Now let’s talk about Realtor calls.  Why do we even make them?”  She answered, “So that we can book face to face appointments to create new referral relationships.”  I said, “Correct! Now, who is it easier to get to meet face to face with you, Agents you know or Agents you don’t know?”  “Agents I know, of course,” she said. “Right.” I continued. “So, who should you be calling first for appointments?”  “Agents I know.” I then asked, “Do you have any issue calling Agents you know and inviting them to coffee?” “Nope.” “Ok, well you’ve been doing loans in this town for over 20 years. You must know dozens of Realtors.” “I do,” she agreed.  “Perfect,” I said. “So, using our Thor’s Hammer system for reaching out to Realtors, if you call through your known Agents first, you’ll likely never even get to the ones you don’t know.”  She responded “Wow! I guess I never thought of it that way.” So, in summary, FIRST we call though our pipeline, THEN we call through our database, THEN we reach out to our known Agents.  After these calls have been completed, then in your spare time, if you feel like it, you can make cold calls to unknown Realtors. 😀    Understanding this Hierarchy of Leads and using it to prioritize your calls really can help you overcome call reluctance. Now, what if, on top of having call reluctance, you’re brand new in the business (or just returning), have no pipeline or database and you don’t know anyone?  The good new is that we have an excellent strategy for working with Title Companies to generate an unlimited warm list of producing Realtors who are expecting your call.  The bad news is that that will have to wait for a different post, OR if you’d like that information sooner, why not click the banner on this page to schedule a free strategy call?  In addition to that strategy, we'll help you take an inventory of the business assets you have and then map out a blueprint to help you move forward by using what you have to get what you want.  You may discover that your call reluctance is “much ado about nothing.”
To Build a Fire- Ralph Watkins
One of my fondest memories of my father was his love of camping. We had a huge green army tent that could sleep our whole family of seven plus assorted cousins and friends. We camped regularly at several locations in Michigan and Central Florida where I learned about hiking, canoeing, exploring and of course, how to build a fire. I really loved it when it was cold and we all sat around the fire to stay warm and enjoy each others' company. One of the early lessons was pretty straight forward. What do you do if you want more heat? Do you A) carefully build on the fire you already have by adding increasingly larger twigs and sticks, then logs that can burn to generate many times the heat that you started with, or B) start a whole new fire from scratch hoping that the combined heat of them will somehow warm your campsite? The obvious answer is "A". Yet when I interview Loan Officers across the country to help them map out their success strategies for the next 12 months, an alarming number of them choose "B". What do campfires have to do with the mortgage industry? A fire is certainly an asset to your camping experience. It serves more than one purpose, providing warmth and acting as a center of activity. You need to expend the time, energy and resources to create it but once it is going, it's easy to maintain. Much the same can be said of the marketing for your mortgage business. I've lost count, though, of how many time I've seen Loan Officers walk right past a blazing fire in their marketing which will give them everything they need, in order to try to start a brand new one. I'm frequently on the phone with people who are closing 5, 8, 10, 12 or even more loans per month and NEVER reach out to their existing pipeline or their closed loan database for more business while embarking on undeveloped strategies that will take much more time and investment to bring to fruition. The aforementioned sources are not simply the low hanging fruit in your business, they are ripe fruit that has fallen off the tree and is just waiting to be picked up. "But don't I have to call referral partners and book face to face meetings to develop relationships that generate referrals?" Honestly, that depends. There are marketing strategies that are appropriate for each stage of business development. If you're new to the business (or just returning) so you have no relationships, pipeline or database of closed loans, then yes. You need to be banging that phone. But if you've already got the "fire burning" with established relationships, a full pipeline, and a growing database, shouldn't you build on that instead of starting a new fire? "Does marketing to my pipeline and database actually work??" Our client Brandon increased his business by 633% in 12 months just by marketing to his pipeline. Jay went from 5 closings to 20 closings per month just by marketing to his database. "Are those results typical?" Of course not. 🙂 According to the 80/20 rule, if 100 Loan Officers close 250 loans in a month, just 20 of them will close 200 (or 10 each). That means that the other 80 "typical" LOs will close the other 50 between them (or 5/8 of one loan each month). Then again, the typical LO doesn't market to their pipeline or database. They are too busy starting new fires that go out before they get hot. By the way, the reason that this "inside" marketing works is that when it is done properly, it doesn't look like marketing. It looks a lot like helping, and it is much easier than starting new relationships from scratch. The even better news is that it can be done FOR you by most high schoolers. So, do you want to build your business the hard way or the easy way? If this resonates with you, why not click the banner on this page to schedule a free strategy call? We'll help you take an inventory of the business assets you have and then map out a blueprint to help you move forward by using what you have to get what you want. Who knows? You may discover that you have a burning fire you didn't even know about.
About Me Samples
Did you know that the “about me” is the number one thing clicked on for loan officer websites? Most LOs absolutely blow this golden opportunity by talking about their company, or even worse, talking about loans. People click on your “about me” because they want to learn about YOU. I know it sounds weird that people want to see what you are about, but in the new “Facebook” and social media world that we now live in, people really want to know who you are. It goes back to the ol’ “people like to do business with people they know, like, and trust”. Proof of this is, again, it’s the #1 thing clicked on for loan officers’ web sites. Many of the loan officers that I help have found the “about me” videos to be extremely successful in letting people know what they are about. I’m going to post some examples here for you to get some ideas about doing your own.

John Hinks

Holly Walther

Nick Magiera

Brian Heckman

Dave Brown

How to Deal With Low Inventory-Ralph Watkins
Our organization has the privilege of helping hundreds of Loan Officers build their businesses on a full-time basis. Being in this position allows us to keep a pulse on emerging trends in the mortgage industry. We can see challenges coming from a long way off and develop strategies to deal with them in the most effective way. One such challenge that we're hearing a lot about and which is already rampant is the issue of low inventory. In this seller's market, our LOs are reporting that many of them have long lists of "pre-approved and looking" borrowers. They're all dressed up with no place to go. Many of their borrowers have shared their experiences of making multiple full price offers only to be outbid by others who overpay for the properties. For Loan Officers this can be very discouraging, however, discouragement doesn't pay the bills. What you need is an effective strategy. Right now, low inventory is simply a given. We can't wave a wand or twitch our noses and create more inventory. This is just a cycle in the market. Different market cycles dictate the need for different approaches to marketing. For the current market conditions, one word jumps out at me when I think of marketing. MORE! More? More of What?? Well, since there is isn't more inventory, you'll need more of the activities that generate referrals for whatever inventory DOES exist. If there were more available houses than there were people to buy them, then theoretically, everyone whom you pre-approved could close (wouldn't that be nice?). You would need fewer borrowers to achieve your desired level of income. However, since the opposite is true right now, what you need is more. You need more borrowers. To get them, you'll need more referrals from more Realtors. To get THOSE, you'll need more of the activities that make those happen; more phone calls, more coffees, more lunch & learns, more handwritten notes. In short, more of everything. Here is a quick two-step plan to get you more business. 1. Think of some marketing that has been successful for you in the past. 2. Do more of that. Is it really that simple? Yes and no, but mostly yes. As successful Type A business people we have a tendency to overcomplicate things. We develop "rescue" plans with many moving parts, then get bogged down in their implementation. Often, they just collapse under their own weight. So let's "Keep it stupid simple" and go with a plan that you've already proven to be successful. A word of caution here is that it's easy to think of reasons why something won't work this time even though it worked brilliantly last time. Yes, sometimes situations DO change but usually, it's just "little guy" popping up on your shoulder and playing mind games with you telling you “everything is bad”. He was probably there the first time you did it also. You flicked him off then, so flick him off now. 🙂 One more thing, this current business cycle requires tunnel vision. Peter literally walked on water until he took his eyes off of his Goal and began focusing on the wind and waves around him. When he started paying attention to the "reasons" that what he was actually doing "wouldn't work," he began to sink. So, starting right now, dig out that script. You know, the one that worked so well for you that you quit using it and start calling more Realtors to schedule more coffees. Pull out that mailer that got such a great conversion and send it out again to more people. I promise that no one is going to bust you because you already used it. Above all, insulate yourself from all of the hand-wringers who want to sit around and complain about why there is no business or how hard it is. It's SUPPOSED to be hard. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it (and no one would be making any money). So, starting today, be more and do more so you can have more. Stay tuned for upcoming posts where we'll be talking about some "out of the box" strategies that will help you do....more! PS. If you need help coming up with a strategy that gets tons of solid quality leads (never buy leads by the way, learn how to generate them), let’s set up a complimentary strategy session as my way of saying thanks for being one of our subscribers. Just go to LoanOfficerStrategyCall.com and we’ll get that set up for you and I look forward to strategizing with you and sharing some of the top things that we are doing